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Three Hutterites face kidnapping, child abuse charges

ALEXANDRIA -- A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for three brothers from the Oak Lane Hutterite Colony accused of kidnapping and child abuse.

Jacob Wipf, 61, John Wipf, 58, and Tobias Wipf, 47, are each charged with second-degree kidnapping, abuse of a minor and cruelty to a minor. All three appeared in court Wednesday at the Hanson County Courthouse in Alexandria.

After being advised of their rights by Judge Tim Bjorkman, each of the men requested a preliminary hearing. A joint preliminary hearing for all three men was tentatively scheduled for July, but could change if scheduling conflicts arise for Bjorkman or any of the attorneys involved in the case.

According to court documents, the charges stem from events that occurred Feb. 15.

Hanson County State's Attorney Jim Davies declined to divulge any additional details of the case when asked for comment after Wednesday's hearing. Hanson County Sheriff Randy Bartlett referred questions about the case to Davies.

Bartlett said there have been very few issues with criminal activity on either the Oak Lane Colony or Rockport Colony, both of which are located near Alexandria.

"This is just one incident that got out of hand," he said.

The kidnapping charge is a felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. The other two charges are each felonies with maximum penalties of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

All three men were booked Wednesday morning at the Davison County Jail and then released on their own recognizance. As conditions of their bond, the men agreed to have no contact with the alleged victim, agreed to remain in South Dakota and signed a waiver of extradition.